STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The state has launched a system designed to track coronavirus (COVID-19) negative tests and vaccines that could help streamline the reopening of theaters, stadiums and event venues through a confidential data transfer that records vaccines and negative tests.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday announced the launch of Excelsior Pass — a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM — that utilizes secure technology to confirm a person’s recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination. The app was designed to help fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines.
Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app. Each Pass will have a secure QR code, which participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to verify proof of COVID-19 negative test results or proof of vaccination. An individual’s data is kept secure and confidential at all times.
Current state guidelines require venues to ensure all staff and spectators have received a negative PCR test within 72 hours of an event.
The app was first piloted at the Barclays Center on Feb. 27, and also at aearlier this month.
“New Yorkers have proven they can follow public health guidance to beat back COVID, and the innovative Excelsior Pass is another tool in our new toolbox to fight the virus while allowing more sectors of the economy to reopen safely and keeping personal information secure,” Cuomo said.
“The question of ‘public health or the economy’ has always been a false choice — the answer must be both. As more New Yorkers get vaccinated each day and as key public health metrics continue to regularly reach their lowest rates in months, the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Pass heralds the next step in our thoughtful, science-based reopening,” he added.
HOW IT WORKS
As part of this initial launch, participating New Yorkers may choose to use Excelsior Pass to verify their COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results as needed to gain entry to major stadiums and arenas, wedding receptions, or catered and other events above the social gathering limit.
Interested New Yorkers can opt in to use Excelsior Pass and learn more; interested businesses can opt in and learn more .
Major venues have already announced they will begin utilizing this technology in the coming weeks, including Madison Square Garden in Manhattan beginning next week and the Times Union Center in Albany.
Beginning April 2, Excelsior Pass will expand to smaller arts, entertainment and event venues.
Excelsior Pass is built onand is designed to enable the secure verification of health credentials, such as test results and vaccination records without the need to share underlying medical and personal information.
The state said a special emphasis has been placed on the protection of an individual’s privacy. Secure technologies, like blockchain and encryption, are woven throughout Excelsior Pass to help protect and trust the data, according to the state.
The Cuomo Administration said no private health data is stored or tracked within the apps. Excelsior Pass can be used to voluntarily show a QR code as proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test result via a digital smartphone wallet or printed credential without sharing underlying personal health details.
The following set of labs have committed to rapid reporting of COVID test results to the State Department of Health’s Electronic Clinical Laboratory Reporting System (ECLRS), which will help ensure that Excelsior Pass users are able to receive their testing results in the required window of time before an event: Acutis Diagnostics, Aegis Sciences Corporation, BioReference Laboratories, Boston Heart Diagnostics, Broad Institute, Cayuga Medical Center, Clarity Lab Solutions, Lenco Diagnostic Laboratories, The Mount Sinai Hospital’s Center for Clinical Laboratories, Northwell Health, Rapid Reliable Testing and UR Medicine Labs.
The state said it will continue to work with other labs and rapid testing sites to expand the list of partners and expedite reporting so users have timely, accurate results to participate in congregate economic and social activities.
“We are grateful the state is focused on doing everything possible to reopen businesses across our region safely and quickly,” said James Dolan, executive chairman, MSG Sports and Executive Chairman and CEO, MSG Entertainment. “The Excelsior Pass will play an important role in allowing people to gather safely, which will be critical to New York’s recovery. We were proud to be part of the Excelsior Pass pilot and look forward to participating in the program.”
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